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General · 8th September 2010
George Heyman
The federal government is poised to decide if Taseko Mines Ltd. can turn BC's Fish Lake into a toxic tailings pond, over the objections of First Nations who consider the lake sacred. A decision will be made as early as Friday, September 10.

Please take immediate action to save Fish Lake, 125 kilometres west of Williams Lake.

Sierra Club BC and 11 other environmental groups are calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to heed the findings of a federal environmental assessment review panel and reject a proposed gold and copper mine that would destroy Fish Lake.

Taseko Mines Ltd. proposes to build the huge "Prosperity" open-pit mine on the traditional lands of the Xeni Gwet'in First Nation, a member of the Tsilqot'in National Government in central B.C.

If the project is approved by the federal government, Taseko would drain Fish Lake in order to access the gold and copper deposits below it and to make room for a waste rock dump and nearby toxic tailings. Fish Lake is home to more than 80,000 rainbow trout. The lake is sacred to the Xeni Gwet'in and other First Nations, and there are homes and burial grounds around the lake.

The B.C. government issued a 25-year-mining lease to Taseko in June of this year. In July, a federal environmental assessment review panel reported that Taseko’s proposed mine would have significant adverse effects on the environment — including to fish stocks and grizzly populations — and on First Nations rights and title.

Changes to the federal Fisheries Act allow metal mining corporations to destroy lakes in order to dispose of the millions of tonnes of waste rock and tailings they generate. Fish Lake would be Canada's fifth pristine natural water body authorized for destruction under this loophole if cabinet ignores the findings of the environmental assessment panel.

There is no time to lose.